Hopefully everyone has enjoyed the start of the holiday season thus far and while some of you may still be working your way out of a food coma, we have enough time to recover before Sunday’s NFL action sneaks up on us. We have just six full slates of football left in the regular season so we’re really getting down to it. This week’s column will be a little different – also a little shorter – due to the hectic holiday schedule, but let’s dive right into some picks that can help your FanDuel and DraftKings lineups and hopefully we can all put a little extra cash in our pockets. As always, keep up with the latest news via the RotoGrinders DFS Alerts app - we’ll push injury news directly to your phone for free with a DFS spin.
Targets, Touches and Percentage of Workload
Cooper Kupp ($5,400 on FanDuel, $5,000 on DraftKings) – We can find value through the targets page in a variety of different ways, and Kupp is an interesting example for a few reasons. You won’t see his name displayed prominently on that page because he simply hasn’t been involved enough to warrant being highly ranked in any one category, but the absence of Robert Woods is going to have a significant impact on the Rams receiving corps. Woods is 14th among WRs in percentage of workload (targets) at 22.1%, but that number rises to 27% since the Rams bye week, and that percentage would slot him right next to Julio Jones. There is a lot of work to go around here, and while Kupp will be just one of the beneficiaries, he’s my favorite target amongst the Rams WRs. Kupp has been consistently involved throughout the year, seeing fewer than five targets in just two games, and Woods’ absence sets him up for a shot at double-digit looks for the first time all year. Given how cheap he is across the industry, Kupp can be rostered in all formats confidently.
Doug Baldwin ($7,900 on FanDuel, $7,000 on DraftKings) – I’m really hoping that back-to-back slow games for Baldwin plus a high-end price tag is enough to keep his GPP ownership in check. He’s coming off two straight games where he saw six targets a piece, but will now face off with a 49ers defense that ranks 30th in DVOA against the pass while still being an above average defense against tight ends, setting Baldwin up for a big performance. He failed to meet expectations when these teams met earlier in the year, and he has had some terribly disappointing stat lines to date, so while I won’t be rushing to slot him into cash game lineups, I will be starting many GPP teams with Baldwin and Wilson. The nice part about stacking up those two is that while we don’t technically have access to a RB, Wilson accounts for a substantial portion of Seattle’s rushing output/TDs, so you can still get a little exposure to the run game as well. Baldwin ranks sixth among WRs in targets this year.
Corey Davis ($5,400 on FanDuel, $4,900 on DraftKings) – It’s looking very much like Rishard Matthews is going to sit as of this writing – Harry Douglas is reportedly going to be activated, which seems to suggest the Titans are preparing to be without Matthews. That bodes well for Corey Davis and Eric Decker, but Davis is the far more appealing DFS option. While he has just 35 targets on the season, 17 of them have come in just the last two games, so a late-season surge is looking like a good possibility for the Tennessee first round pick. Davis has led the Titans in target share in each of the past two games even with Matthews active, so it’s certainly possible that we’ll see him finish in the neighborhood of ten targets here at a dirt-cheap price tag on FanDuel. His $4,900 tag on DraftKings is also too low given the opportunity he’ll have, especially against an Indy defense that ranks 27th in pass DVOA and lacks much talent in the secondary.
Wide Receiver/Cornerback Chart
The WR/CB chart is one of our premium products that helps to shed light on the best individual draws for wide receivers. Few corners shadow and few receivers spend all their time lined up in one spot, so while this isn’t a cut-and-dry match-ups page, the CB listed next to each WR is the coverage that player is expected to draw most often. You can see how often each player lines up in designated spots on the field which gives you a good idea of how often players will be in particular match-ups.
Brandin Cooks ($7,600 on FanDuel, $7,100 on DraftKings) – Cooks has the second-best match-up rating on the board this week, as he’s expected to run most of his routes against Xavien Howard, who grades as the 12th-worst CB on the chart. Cooks’ ability – mainly his speed – is what really makes this match-up stand out, as he has the highest grade among WRs. Chris Hogan is once again ruled out which leaves Cooks, Amendola and Gronkowski as the top options in the passing game on the New England side, and Cooks/Brady are finally starting to sync up with regularity after a sporadic start to the season. He’s seen at least eight targets in five of the last six games and while game flow may be a slight concern for New England, they are going to have to get ahead somehow and Cooks is one of their best bets in that regard.
Mohamed Sanu ($5,800 on FanDuel, $5,200 on DraftKings) – Julio Jones is getting a lot of attention as usual, but he’s not the only appealing member of the Atlanta aerial attack. Tampa Bay is a dream draw for WRs, as they allow the second-most FPPG and yardage to the position. I don’t see myself having a ton of exposure to either of the top priced WRs on this slate (A.J. Green and Julio Jones), as most of my exposure to those offenses will be with secondary receivers. Sanu’s target totals can be a little sporadic – he hasn’t seen more than five in a game since Week 8 – but I think he breaks out here while Tampa is focused on trying to slow Julio. It also helps that Sanu has the third-best match-up according to the WR/CB chart, as his draw with Robert McClain is very desirable given that McClain is the second-lowest rated CB on the entire chart. Jones is expected to see much more of Brent Grimes, who has been far better in coverage this year.
Sammy Watkins ($5,900 on FanDuel, $4,900 on DraftKings) – Kupp is still my preferred play on the LAR side if I’m choosing just one receiver, but I’ll absolutely have exposure to Watkins in tournaments given that such a massive amount of target share has opened up with Robert Woods out. As I noted earlier, Woods commanded a 27% target share since the bye which is an elite rate, and a decent slice of that pie should shift to the Watkins. This is still a GPP-only spot given that Watkins has for some reason not seen more than five targets in a game since SEPTEMBER, an astonishing stat given how powerful the Rams passing attack has been lately. This is a potential breakout spot for Watkins against P.J. Williams. The match-up grades out as the 4th-best on this slate given a significant difference in speed between the two, giving the speedster some added big play ability.
For those who haven’t spent time in these parts, Value Town sheds light on some salary-saving options that’ll allow you the flexibility to roster some big names. I’ll list a handful of options at each position under a certain salary threshold, and will list them in the order I’d prefer to roster them in (ranked in order of tournament preference). This will only include players that are included in both major sites main slate, so no Sunday night/Monday night players.
- Tyrod Taylor ($6,900 on FanDuel, $5,800 on DraftKings) – Taylor will get the start against KC after a forgettable Week 11 for Buffalo, and he’ll have a chip on his shoulder after being benched for a guy who went on to throw five first half interceptions. Kansas City has been a sieve in terms of yardage but has clamped down in terms of points allowed in recent weeks.
- Marcus Mariota ($6,300 on DraftKings) – He’s not as strong of a value on FanDuel, but this is a sneaky spot to deploy him as a stacking partner with a guy like Corey Davis.
- C.J. Beathard ($4,600 on DraftKings) – The upside isn’t huge here, but his floor is respectable at this price tag.
- Carlos Hyde ($6,600 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings) – Despite consistent usage on both the ground and through the air, Hyde always seems underpriced even in a tough match-up.
- Dion Lewis ($6,200 on FanDuel, $4,800 on DraftKings) – It’s always a little tough to trust the Patriots flavor of the week, but Lewis looks to be in the best spot among the NE backs this weekend.
- Devontae Booker ($5,500 on FanDuel, $3,700 on DraftKings) – This is a large-field GPP punt, but there is some upside here as Booker is continuing to see more work as the season wears on. Neither C.J. Anderson or Jamaal Charles have looked good lately.
- Corey Davis ($5,400 on FanDuel, $4,900 on DraftKings)
- Cooper Kupp ($5,400 on FanDuel, $5,000 on DraftKings)
- Corey Coleman ($5,800 on FanDuel, $4,800 on DraftKings) – I prefer Coleman in GPPs to either Davis or Kupp given that they’ll likely be more popular with similar floors/ceilings.
- Jack Doyle ($5,700 on FanDuel, $4,500 on DraftKings) – Doyle is benefitting from WR-like usage and while Tennessee does set up as a positive match-up for Hilton, I’ll have more exposure to Doyle.
- Greg Olsen ($4,800 on DraftKings) – He’s not as strong of a value on FanDuel, but Olsen is sitting at under $5K on DraftKings and doesn’t have much competition for targets.
- Tyler Kroft ($5,700 on FanDuel, $3,900 on DraftKings) – Also a better value on FD, Kroft should benefit if A.J. Green struggles a bit with Jason McCourty.